|A review of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by Eric Frey focuses on the issue of anti-semitism which was raised much more frequently in Europe than in the U.S. Frey believes that around third of Europeans are still "susceptible to covert antisemitic propaganda, and some of them will see their views confirmed by two respected American political scientists. But the rest will not be impressed".|
"Mearsheimer and Walt’s book is not about Israel. It is about American politics, specifically about the allegedly nefarious role played by a mostly Jewish circle of people and organizations in the politics of a predominantly Christian nation. The charge that Jews manipulate non-Jews to further their own interests is so much part of antisemitic lore here in Europe that discussing such a thesis almost immediately requires addressing the issue of antisemitism.
That is what happened to Mearsheimer and Walt. In what seemed to be every interview and panel discussion, they were forced to address the charge that they were themselves antisemites, or at least giving ammunition to antisemites. In the interview I conducted with them in Vienna for my newspaper, Der Standard, the two authors themselves constantly returned to the theme of antisemitism, sounding defensive and at times snivelling.
They repeated their argument that their book was not about Jews, but about the workings of political lobbies in American politics. But that argument will ring false in New York, let alone in places like Austria and Germany where the obsession with Jewish power has a long and terrible history.
While there are plenty of people who will use the book to reaffirm their belief that, to quote Mel Gibson, “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” mainstream readers of political non-fiction will at least be concerned that they might be seen as antisemites if they identify too closely with Mearsheimer and Walt’s thesis.
Even when it came to the issue of the Iraq war, the academics’ Jewish spin has tended to dampen the impact of their message in Europe. There is a near consensus here on the view that the Bush administration’s decision to go to war was at a minimum foolish and perhaps even criminal, and that the neoconservatives are largely to blame for that decision. But once you equate that group with the Israel Lobby, as Mearsheimer and Walt have done, the Iraq war gets tied up with the darkest sides of Europe’s own history. …
Perhaps a third of the European public is susceptible to covert antisemitic propaganda, and some of them will see their views confirmed by two respected American political scientists. But the rest will not be impressed."